Constitution Project Proposes Much-Needed Reforms to Limit Immigration Detention and Improve Access to Counsel

Liberty and Security Committee releases Recommendations for Reforming our Immigration Detention System and Promoting Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or mallee@constitutionproject.org

WASHINGTON – Today, the Constitution Project put forth bipartisan recommendations for much-needed reforms to limit the use of immigration detention and improve access to legal representation in immigration proceedings. Titled Recommendations for Reforming our Immigration Detention System and Promoting Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings, the report is a product of the Project’s Liberty and Security Committee, made up of policy experts from across the political spectrum. The findings were unveiled at a panel discussion at the National Press Club, which featured Liberty and Security Committee member Asa Hutchinson, former member of Congress (R-AR) and Undersecretary for Border & Transportation Security at the Department of Homeland Security, as well as a former immigration judge and immigration advocates.

The Committee’s report includes an in-depth examination of the U.S. system for immigration removal proceedings and detention, and includes a series of recommendations for the necessary agency-level and congressional reforms. The report also includes a detailed legal and policy analysis supporting the Committee’s recommendations for expanding access to counsel for non-citizens in immigration proceedings.

“The use of immigration detention has exploded in recent years, and most of the people held in such detention centers have no access to lawyers to help them navigate our immigration system,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, Constitution Project Senior Counsel. “Although detention can be an important tool in enforcing our immigration laws, we are locking up too many people unnecessarily, and we are failing to safeguard individual rights, including the rights of long-term legal permanent residents. Recommendations for Reforming our Immigration Detention System and Promoting Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings offers critical and urgently needed reforms to a system that has grown too fast and fails to safeguard fundamental rights.”

Click here to access a copy of Recommendations for Reforming our Immigration Detention System and Promoting Access to Counsel in Immigration Proceedings.

Today’s panel discussion was co-sponsored by Human Rights Watch (HRW) which released a related report at the event, titled Locked Up Far Away: The Transfer of Immigrants to Remote Detention Centers in the United States. Click here to access a copy of HRW’s report.

Last year, the Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee examined the government’s use of immigration law as a counterterrorism tool and put forth recommendations in The Use and Abuse of Immigration Authority as a Counterterrorism Tool: Constitutional and Policy Considerations. Click here to view a copy.

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